ANSWER D.C. Protest Roundup

I was busy yesterday with a move of my household goods so missed the festivities in D.C. yesterday. From what I can gather, though, it was a re-run of the last several dozen protests dominated by the usual suspects.

Antiwar Protests Commence in Washington (WaPo)

Photo Thousands of protesters against the war in Iraq rallied today in Washington and other U.S. and European cities to demand the return of U.S. troops in what organizers hope will be the largest gathering since the war began more than two years ago. Protest organizers estimated a crowd of about 200,000 rallied at the Ellipse, then marched around the White House and along Pennsylvania Avenue. Police downgraded the count to about 150,000. The crowd thinned when a misty drizzle began before the afternoon concert on the Washington Monument grounds.

D.C. police and U.S. Park Police said there were no significant problems during the demonstrations and reported three arrests — one for destruction of property, one for attempted theft, and one for disorderly conduct. Police said all three incidents stemmed from the tearing-down of a construction fence and the destruction of a newspaper box in the 1000 block of 11th Street NW. Police said that some windows were broken at 13th Street, just south of L Street.

The antiwar activities occurred on the same weekend as the fall meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, which drew several hundred activists who criticized the organization’s policies as detrimental to the world’s poor.

Protesters came from around the country to the nation’s capital, arriving on buses, planes and in cars, carrying signs that read “Bush Lied, Thousands Died,” and “End the Occupation,” among other messages. “We believe we are at a tipping point whereby the anti-war sentiment has now become the majority sentiment,” said Brian Becker, national coordinator for ANSWER, one of the main antiwar groups coordinating today’s events.

Anti-war demonstrators stage day of protest (AP)

Photo The Crowds opposed to the war in Iraq surged past the White House on Saturday, shouting “Peace now” in the largest anti-war protest in the nation’s capital since the U.S. invasion. The rally stretched through the day and into the night, a marathon of music, speechmaking and dissent on the National Mall. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, noting that organizers had hoped to draw 100,000 people, said, “I think they probably hit that.”

Speakers from the stage attacked President Bush̢۪s policies head on, but he was not at the White House to hear it. He spent the day in Colorado and Texas, monitoring hurricane recovery.

In the crowd: young activists, nuns whose anti-war activism dates to Vietnam, parents mourning their children in uniform lost in Iraq, and uncountable families motivated for the first time to protest. Connie McCroskey, 58, came from Des Moines, Iowa, with two of her daughters, both in their 20s, for the family’s first demonstration. McCroskey, whose father fought in World War II, said she never would have dared protest during the Vietnam War. “Today, I had some courage,” she said.

While united against the war, political beliefs varied. Paul Rutherford, 60, of Vandalia, Mich., said he is a Republican who supported Bush in the last election and still does — except for the war. “President Bush needs to admit he made a mistake in the war and bring the troops home, and let’s move on,” Rutherford said. His wife, Judy, 58, called the removal of Saddam Hussein “a noble mission” but said U.S. troops should have left when claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction proved unfounded. “We found that there were none and yet we still stay there and innocent people are dying daily,” she said.

As usual, crowd estimates vary wildly. Also par for the course, the rally is depicted as a collection of grandmas and thoughtful Americans even though it is organized by the radical fringe.

Photo Michelle Malkin attended the event and describes it as “haze of hemp-scented paranoia, steeped with fetid Bush hatred.” She has a photo collection of some of the more colorful demonstrators, including the one on the left. Photo Kris at Libertarian Republican has his own photo collection, including the one on the right. Juliette Ochieng has similar photos taken at a simultaneous rally in Los Angeles. Taken in isolation, they’re probably no more representative of the march than that of the grandmas shown in the AP/MSNBC photo or the teenager concerned about hurricane victims accompanying the WaPo piece. But one wonders why the mainstream press presents the rally as if the kook brigade was not a major component.

Jeff Goldstein thinks he knows the answer. Commenting on the vignette featuring the Rutherfords in the AP story above, he writes,

Only in a story that is desperately trying to hide its bias would the author find, foreground, and quote, as her initial interviewees, a couple who are surely the least politically representative of all those attending this rally: a pro-Bush Republican tandem so unversed in the Administration’s reasons for being in Iraq that they believe we should pull out before the mission is completed, and are basing that belief on a tired liberal talking point that conveniently ignores all the other reasons the Bushies outlined for the Iraq campaign. So, while Ms Kerr is certainly correct to note that political beliefs among the rallyers varies, her choice to highlight the most unrepresentative of the variants to open the story betrays her own rhetorical agenda—and does so in a way that is so obvious I’d be surprised to learn she thought it might actually fool anyone.

Clearly, the fact that most reporters sympathize with the anti-war cause makes them less likely to focus on the sizable fringe element of these protests, just as those of us who support the war likely focus too much on the nuts.

Pat Cleary likely hits on the real truth. Linking to a speaker’s list (from ANSWER, natch) including Ron Kovic, George Galloway, Ramsey Clark, Cindy Sheehan, Jessica Lange, Cynthia McKinney, Ralph Nader, and Al Sharpton, he observes,

Clearly this was a day to come out and protest whatever the heck had gotten under your skin. Makes one think they should have united under one banner, found one common denominator that would have aggregated all the causes together. We can see the message on the banner now: “Whatever”.

Almost all mass protests are of that variety. Some genuinely oppose the war, others hate everything George Bush, others fear global commerce, some just want to be seen and heard, a few hate America in general, and others just love the atmosphere. In that sense, the fight over the numbers count is almost irrelevant.

Update: David Adesnik has a superb first-hand report of the day’s events. Neither the protestors nor the counter-protestors come out looking very well.

On occasion, the protesters challenged some of the soldiers to go back to Iraq if they supported the war. Once, there was even a chant of “Re-enlist! Re-enlist! Re-enlist!” Equally nonsensical was the demand of one counterprotester to know why, if the protesters cared so much about peace, they weren’t in the Peace Corps.

But leaving aside such strange arguments, I think the prevalence of the chickenhawk argument does say something important the anti-war movment, namely that the only story it can tell itself about those who support the war is that they are very selfish or very naive. If this war is about blood for oil and profits for Halliburton, how could anyone support it if they aren’t selfish or naive?

In contrast, mainstream Democrats know that promoting democracy is a good objective and that pulling out of Iraq may be very dangerous, even if they are 100% sure that we have already lost the war thanks to Bush’s incompetence. But that kind of intellectual opposition to the war doesn’t get people out in the streets.

Cindy Sheehan overcame such reluctance to a certain degree by infusing liberal arguments against the war with emotional content. But with soldiers and their families still coming out for the mission much more often than against it, Democrats can’t get as outraged as they were a generation ago, when our government was forcing young men to fight and die in Vietnam. That is the invisible strength of an army of volunteers.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. DL says:

    I guess you’d have to admit that the WaPo is the mainstream press, but sorta like Saddam represented Iraq (he did, but he hardly represented most of their views, now did he?

    The real news is not, who is here, but who isn’t! The leftist politicians that would so love to join their soul-brothers in hating America on the street are in hiding. Their strategy is clear- “We’ll lose votes if we’re seen with these Godless anti-American Commie lovers so we’ll pretend otherwise” – Notice that they won’t condemn them either . It’s just the left’s political version of good cop – bad cop! “You wackos hit the streets and act (brown shirtish) while we pretend to be statesmen!”
    What a game!




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  2. DL says:

    Has anyone ever added up the degradation to the environment that these leftist shows cost?
    Let’s see now, fuel at $3.oo times how many millions of protesters did the WaPo say?” How many trees were cut down for those signs to be made?




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  3. odograph says:

    You know DL, people make their best decisions when they are honest about the evidence. A parade like this does bring out the loonies, but it was not a uniform collection of “leftists,” in fact:

    While united against the war, political beliefs varied. Paul Rutherford, 60, of Vandalia, Mich., said he is a Republican who supported Bush in the last election and still does — except for the war.

    “President Bush needs to admit he made a mistake in the war and bring the troops home, and let’s move on,” Rutherford said. His wife, Judy, 58, called the removal of Saddam Hussein “a noble mission” but said U.S. troops should have left when claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction proved unfounded.

    “We found that there were none and yet we still stay there and innocent people are dying daily,” she said.

    – more here

    (For what it’s worth, I am a lifelong conservative and Republican … who wrote Pres. Bush before he invaded to tell him it was a bad idea. We don’t all fit in easy categories.)




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  4. ken says:

    The vast majority of Americans know that Bush lied about WMD in order to go to war against Iraq. There are a few looney conservatives who still think the War on Iraq is justified, but they wouldn’t care if Bush waged a War on Mexica. They are just too dumb to think for themselves.




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  5. DL says:

    Ken Thanks for coming out of hiding. Still resorting to personal attacks as opposed to dealing with the issues? I can’t believe you’re still on that Bush lied stuff! I suppose when you shower you still hum “We shall overcome!” Or is the cool song still Kumbiya




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  6. DL says:

    odograph

    Thanks for a rational argument,though I have a hard time with people who say they’re Republican but… (I’ve been forced to say it on Bush’s Border suicide and his overspending as well as his patronizing, get-along, comments about NO being a racist issue)

    What would you do.have done to stop this terror? I have heard reasonable people disagree on the war in Iraq, but I haven’t heard a reasonable alternative yet!




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  7. odograph says:

    I think the policy of active management and containment, while frustrating at times, was actually the most workable solution. It would have been a long job, but … so were/are all the alternatives.

    I think it might also be useful to maintain a disctinction. When small groups act, that is “crime.” When nations (like Afganistan’s Taliban) back them, it becomes “war.”

    Inflating Bin Laden to “warrior” status, instead of the more fitting “criminal” was an error, IMO.




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  8. odograph says:

    BTW, please note that the “contained” Iraq was a much poorer playground for Al Qaeda than today’s Iraq. The best moment for us actually was post-Afganistan and pre-Iraq. Opening Iraq created a can of worms that will cause us “blowback” for quite a long time.




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  9. DL says:

    The problem with the “criminal” definition is that it puts people intent on destroying us in the hands of lawyers and law intended for citizens, not people who have declared war on us!
    It didn’t work for Clinton/Gore.

    Containment IMHO is naiive. It allowed 5-6 serious terrorist attacks upon this country, any one of which would normally be declared an act of war. You know that the problem with terrorism is, “Who (what country ) are we to declare war on? Bush said it right when he said anyone (supporting/harboring/working with) these guys is our enemy. We are at risk like never before because the Kamakazi mentality and hi-tech weapons available to a fanatical enemy make this a situation of dire consequences. Ben Laden is on record as having said that our running in Somolia encourage his actions. Bush showed him (and his wannabes)that those days are over. This is no time to not support our Commander in Chief unless we are ready to surrender as we did in Nam -and that’s what this crowd in DC wants -nothing less.

    Look what containment did for North Korea I was there in 53 and we now have a nuclear despot as an enemy -what was the gain?

    Iran, same thing, possibly if our CIA wasn’t undermined by our left (Frank Church etc.) we could agitate the nucleous of pro-wesstern youth to rebel, but…

    Lastly, any real conservative with issues would still be using poor judgement to support the ANSWER people, and encouraging the enemy!.




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  10. Pax says:

    As an outsider it appears to me that the protesters are all there for the right reasons. For example take a look at the Freedumm and Demokracy and the noble mission of Americka in Iraq and see what is actually being spread.

    http://www.xs4all.nl/~stgvisie/VISIE/extremedeformities.html




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  11. Marvin says:

    The Bush administration is a criminal cartel. They have destroyed a nation under false pretenses, mangled the constituiton has been trampled, and the world is far more dangerous.

    One million dollars a minute is being spent on this debacle. We all know there was no WMDs, this is a war of economical conquest and Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove, etc., all have blood on their hands.




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  12. Herb says:

    The radicals are at it again:

    Again Americans have to go through this charade of demonstrations by a group of radical Mal contents and misfits. They don’t realize that with each “march” they hand a Victory to the terrorists, Like Jane Fonda in Vietnam, they praise the terrorists, call them “freedom fighters” and do not comprehend that they are in direct conflict with support of the troops who are risking and giving their liver so that these extremist can show the world their Un American preference.

    In peace and in war, young people die. In 2004, according to DOT statistics, more that 7000 young people died in traffic accidents, You don’t see anyone marching for them. WHY? No, you see a group of has been druggies, hippies, yippies, and social misfits out marching and providing Aid and Comfort to our enemy (Terrorists) who are out to kill them. Doesn’t make a lot of sense does it?

    When people die, those remaining must go on with life. No one expects or demands that the proper respect not be given to the dead and for the living, life goes on. However in this country today, there is an attitude that, if there is a death, “Someone Must Pay”. They forget or do not know that with their demand for payment hurts and demeans those who are defending the very freedom they cherish.

    Those that march say they are Americans and support our troops, That is outright bull.(you fill in the rest).

    They are committing Treason by aiding and abeting the enemy and just to self serving, selfish, and self righteous to know it or care.




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  13. Paxman says:

    Herb .. I am an old man .. born before the second world war … all I have ever known .. and as far as I can see .. all my children will ever know .. is war of one kind or another.

    I served my country .. I played the patriot game .. I played the religion game .. I played the politics game .. I had to play them all before I finally understood .. the rich man manipulates the mind of sheep .. and for those that are not convinced by the media blandishments … then they control the people with armed dogs .. trained killers… who in their turn are controlled by individuals with reptile minds and weasel words.

    With our technology we could have banished hunger, want and war yesterday. But we have not! Why not? and while you think about a very simple question keep sending the children to water the fields with their blood in distant lands in the name of greed.




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  14. larmee says:

    Well, luckily we live in a democracy where everyone can express their views.
    Today, Sunday, a well-publicized event in Washington…to show support for the war drew less than 400 people.

    Saturday….more than 150,000 Anti-War Protesters
    Sunday…….less than 400 Pro-War Protesters.




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  15. odograph says:

    Come on DL, give me something a little better than those talking points.

    “criminals into the hands of lawyers” assumes you’ve caught them, and if you’ve caught them you’ve accomplished the principle task. I’d be pretty happy actually, if Bin Laden was talking to his defense lawyers now, rather than running around out there.

    “Containment IMHO is naiive. It allowed 5-6 serious terrorist attacks” assumes Iraq commited 5-6 serious terrorist attacks on the US. Please document them.

    Etc.




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  16. ken says:

    There is not a rational person alive who does not know that Bush lied about WMD in order to wage a war against Iraq.

    To prove that Bush told the truth about WMD all you have to do is show us the WMD Bush said Iraq was stockpiling before he invaded. You can’t do it because they were never there. Bush simply lied about it.

    It is really easy to tell the difference between
    an honest man and liar. Bush is a liar.




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  17. Pax says:

    I served in Ulster .. anyone remember Bloody Sunday?
    The Brit SAS (undercover black ops)were implicated.

    Now they have been caught again in Basra in a civilian vehicle loaded with explosives. One does not have to be very intelligent to understand the implications of that.

    Neither does one have to be very intelligent to understand the implications of NORAD being stood down whilst the WTC towers went down.

    This war on terror is a phony .. Your own General of Marines Smedley Butler had it correct and he spoke the truth .. but the right are always right .. are they not?

    Meanwhile the screaming and the dying goes on.

    I earnt my right to express my opinion because I have been there and done that and woke up in the doing. Armchair pundits .. turn off the boob tube .. put that beer can down and send your kids if your too old to go yourself .. or do what is right and oppose this evil within your own Government.




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  18. ken says:

    Baer, who served with Tillman for more than a year in Iraq and Afghanistan, told one anecdote that took place during the March 2003 invasion as the Rangers moved up through southern Iraq.

    “I can see it like a movie screen,” Baer said. “We were outside of (a city in southern Iraq) watching as bombs were dropping on the town. We were at an old air base, me, Kevin and Pat, we weren’t in the fight right then. We were talking. And Pat said, ‘You know, this war is so f— illegal.’ And we all said, ‘Yeah.’ That’s who he was. He totally was against Bush.”

    Another soldier in the platoon, who asked not to be identified, said Pat urged him to vote for Bush’s Democratic opponent in the 2004 election, Sen. John Kerry.

    It is interesting to note that even Pat Tillman knew that Bush lied about WMD.

    Read about it at the http://cunningrealist.blogspot.com/ a conservative who actually makes some sense.




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  19. DL says:

    Documentation is well reported -Terrorist attacks on US: Cole, Kenya Embassy, trade center I, trade center 2, Pentagon, 240 Marines in Beirut, Apologizing not necessary, but I’ll bet you knew them anyway.

    You loved trying containment. Hell, if you can’t find them how are you to contain them? The above should tell you that containment (if that’s what Clinton was doing) was a failure. Do you think they’d be sitting on their throat-slitting hands while we waited, or would they be obtaining and perfecting bigger and better weapons. One name should do:Lord Chamberlain, WWII
    With our leftist appointed hand-spanking
    judges you’d trust the security of this country? Not me. Just think, OJ – Michael Jackson – etc.
    The courts would probably give them communications – internet rights (how to make bombs 110) and the best of the slickest lawyers we have.




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  20. DL says:

    Odograph
    Read my post again I said terrorist attacks ,not Iraq attacks, but you knew that too didn’t you?




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  21. odograph says:

    Don’t dig yourself too deep there, DL. This is a thread about the Iraq war. If you want to exclude Iraq from your justifcation of war in that country … I don’t know if it will fly. 😉




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  22. odograph says:

    Maybe you just know that this policy (war) is less effective in Iraq than the previous policy (of active management and containment). And so you want to distract by talking about other things.

    Let’s face it. We accomplished what we needed by keeping pressure on Iraq with our military and through the UN, at a much lower cost in lives and dollars.




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  23. larmee says:

    gee, I’m still curious as to why there were less than 400 pro-war demonstrators at the rally that you’ve publicized on your site….while there were more than 100,000 yesterday at the Anti-war rally.

    could it be, as the polls suggest, that more Americans are against this war?

    Or what?




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  24. Herb says:

    Paxman:

    I am right there with you in your first paragraph. I also was born prior to WW11 and have seen the same things as you. I also agree with you in your last paragraph. It is indeed a shame that we could not have used technology to cure the ills of the USA and the world for that matters.

    I do, however have a problem with your paragraph in between. I to served my country but not by being drafted, I enlisted. I also dabbled in politics and had a spell with religion. I don’t know exactly what you mean by “Patriot Games. If that means being a true American and believing in our country, then I am that and I am still that. I did the same things as you did because I wanted to do them, not because I felt I had to do them like you infer. Yes there is a lot of Greed out there and there are a lot of individuals out there with reptile minds and weasel words, but I guess the difference between you and I is that I recognized these people and learned to deal with them. I hate greed with a passion and I don’t hesitate to let others who they are and why they are greedy. I also don’t talk to or associate with people with “reptile minds and weasel words. I ignore that like they are not there. And as for greed, I assume you mean oil. If that is the case, then you are absolutely right, the oil companies are greedy right along with the yuppies, heads of corporations, stockholders and a whole host of others who prey on the misfortune and sweat of others. But Paxman, I don’t betray my country and those who defend us against those who are trying to kill us, I do stand by my country in times when I don’t agree what they are doing, But again I don’t betray my country by marching down the street shouting anti American slogans, calling out leaders “Liars” and yelling that our enemy are “freedom fighters” I do not support terrorism and those who align themselves with anti war marches that demonstrate that they not only support terrorism but also but condone it.

    And, I will not march or demonstrate or give terrorism a “Victory” by marching with the Mal contents, mis-fits, and society’s traitors.




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  25. DL says:

    odograph
    And their were less deaths in Europe with containment until Hitler marched! As Bush so rightly said, this is too big of a risk to wait till we are hurt badly. They have declared war on us. You choose surrender by soft vigilance. The danger of false security, should be understood by all since 9/11. The UN is worthless as a defense mechanism. You and Kerry must be the last people in the world to believe it can handle that job.

    I belive that you missed the real problem . Iraq is just one small piece of the puzzle. This war is a war that needs to be fought on all levels and not just geographically. One step at a time until we’re safe. Your containment didn’t and won’t prevent less deaths, It has only encouraged these radicals. Did your containment stop 9/11 or don’t you count that. I suspect that like the French, you’ll never see a need to go to war.Containment without fighting is a laugh to these people. We may as well arm our guys with paintball guns as to go the Lord Chamberlain, cross your-fingers, UN route.




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  26. odograph says:

    DL, you are going off on other topics which do not apply in the Iraq case. We *owned* that country with no-fly zones, overflight, and the ability to bomb anything we wanted at our discretion. That is what I meant by “active management and containment.”

    Heck if old Chamberlain had put “no fly zones” on Hitler the world probably would be a better place.

    Anyway, I’m tired of this ducking and weaving away from the Iraq case. You know this war is stupid, and that’s why you want to talk about every other country under the sun, and not Iraq




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  27. odograph says:

    BTW, with this “You and Kerry” line you show how warped you are. My plan was actually Bush Sr.’s plan. You just bunch it together with other things you don’t like so you don’t have to think about it rationally. You can be emotional.




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  28. Jim Henley says:

    So, fellas, attendance numbers on the counterprotests? I think someone has asked several times now.




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  29. Herb says:

    Odo, did you know that the no fly zones were only in the Northern and southern parts of Iraq. There was no no-fly zone in Central Iraq. As far as Chamberlain is concerned, a no fly zone was impossible. What would the British have used to enforce a no fly zone in all of Europe. There were no fighter aircraft at that time that would have the range or firepower to have such a no fly zone. DL was entirely correct in his comment and he did in fact mention Iraq, but maybe you just didn’t read it correctly. DL did not change the subject, he was talking about terrorist throughout the world. After all there are several million Muslims that follow the ideals of OBL, Zarquai and Arafat. If the terrorists are not stopped dead in Iraq, then where Odo are they going to to be stopped. OBL declared war on America, remember that? or do you?. Odo, you have a nasty habit of talking about something of which you know very little.

    Remember what Confucius said:

    He who knows not and knows not what he knows not is a fool, Shun him.

    But then, You can always tell a kid, but you can’t tell him much.




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  30. Jim says:

    Interesting discussion about the two rallies: one is fighting to alter the status-quo while the other supports it. It is no surprise that the anti-war crowd was able to get ~100,00 while the pro-war wasn’t.

    1) The staus-quo doesn’t usually go out marching
    2) Who wants to march for war? The pro-war crowd has never figured out a way to frame their issue to escape that label (the pro-abortion were able to frame their slogan as pro-choice despite pro-lifers attempts to frame it as pro-death).
    3) Demographics favor the anti-war protests since they can draw upon those who protested the Vietnam war and the college students who just started the fall semester (notice how these protests normally don’t occur during summer break?)

    In regards to the old no-fly zones. People forget several things (especially those against the war):

    1) The Iraqi sanctions and zones were beginning to fall apart with numerous countries (to include both France and Russia) actively trying to end them (to include most of the groups on Saturday).
    2) Iraq constantly tried to shoot down one of our planes. Eventually Iraq would have been successful which would open quite a can of worms.




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  31. Jack Ehrlich says:

    Go to extremerightwing.net, go blog, then scroll down to Abel Danger. Read it. Then come back and tell me once again the Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11. True, the left will not accept the truth, because they cannot afford to be found to be incorrect. So they deny. Even when the facts are before them, they deny. Their socialist agenda is to enslave the workers of the world. Freedom is the enemy of the left, alway has been. Where freedom exists, the left uses it as a tool to try to eliminate it. The World Workers Party and ANSWER are not friends of free people anywhere. Why do they not go work in one of their wonderful worker paradices, like Cuba or Viet Nam, or China. See how much time they get to devote to protest there.




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  32. Jim says:

    Coupla’ things:

    1. To abdicate our responsibility to protest and dissent when we see our government doing something that it should not be is the true treason. We have the responsibility to let our leaders know when they have gone astray. They are our public servants, not our rulers. Both parties need to be reminded of this in a big way.

    2. On the ‘exporting freedom’ argument: Freedom is not a gift to be given, but prize to be won. If the people of a country do not want it enough to rise up and take it, you’re not going to be able to ‘Give’ it to them. Hell, the government we installed has already embezzled over $1.2BILLION! http://tinyurl.com/acbvm Those of you conservatives that are pissed off about taxes, think about your money going over to enrich corrupt Iraqi political leaders. (it’s bad enough our taxes enrich political crooks in our own country, but at least we can vote them out… or should anyways).

    Assistance for people attempting to win their freedom is one thing, but doing the job for them? Anyways, on that tip, we should have followed through with our promises back in 1991-2 when the Iraqis rose up, and we abandoned them. That’s where the mass graves came from. Wups, our bad.

    I’m a vet of the first Gulf War. I agreed with it at the time, (some things I’ve heard since have tempered my agreement a bit), and still think that we were quite justified in protecting an ally against an aggressive action by their neighbor. But in this case, we were the aggressor. This isn’t treason, it’s a fact.

    We can weenie-whine technicalities like being in violation of the UN decrees, but again, Iraq was contained, the inspections were FINALLY proceeding (probably due to the threat of war, which was a good Bush move… executing after it wasn’t necessary… bad move), we kinda lost any moral upper hand we had. This was compounded by the fact that Bush stated outright that he’d exhaust all diplomatic avenues before resorting to military action…then kicking the inspectors out so he could get it on before his pretense melted away completely.

    Another thing that we need to keep in our minds when those who support this war bring up 9/11 and terrorism is that Iraq was not involved in terrorism prior to our invasion. That’s a monster we’ve created.

    Going after terrorists is right on. We should be doing it. Just don’t try to confuse that with Iraq, because it doesn’t fly.

    Okay, so it turned out a bit longer than I expected. Sue me. 🙂

    Jim

    “It is said that power corrupts, but actually it’s more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted
    by other things than power.” — David Brin

    “The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” — Isaac Asimov




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  33. larmee says:

    Well, I’ll tell you my theory re: the numbers of the two events…the pro war and the anti war demonstrations….150,000 vs (less than) 400.

    The pro war people, people like many of the Bush supporters on this board…oh, sure, they want war, as long as they don’t have to anything (like fighting or dying). Bush, Chaney, Wolfowitz…the whole gang…are perfect examples. They never fought in a war, in fact they did everything they could to not fight. Oh no, they had other priorities..not that they were against the war..(say, like Clinton)..no, they just preferred to have others do the fighting and dying for them….and that about sums up the pro war people in America today….oh, they’re for the war, alright, as long as some other parents’ kids are doing the fighting and the dying (and as long as they don’t have to pay more taxes). That’s your typical war supporter in America today.

    While the Anti war group is more (in my opinion) ethical…they don’t believe in having wars unless they’re willing to fight in them themselves or send their own children (unlike Bush, Chaney, and Wolfowitz), and they’re more passionate about what they believe in. You see, they’re folk who believe in peace, many of whom (though certainly not all) are Christians who take Jesus at his word when he said “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and “love your enemy”. They’re not hypocrites like the pro war “Christian Right”. They are folks who don’t believe it’s right (or American) to invade other countries based on lies (and yes, they were lies…. there were no weapons of mass destruction). Unlike those who want this war, these folks truly believe in what they preach, so much so that they’re willing to make sacrifices…they’re willing to ride buses to Washington DC, in from Chicago, from New Mexico..from Florida…in fact, in from all 50 states…just so as to express their disgust with Bush and his immoral (and unAmerican) agenda of invasion and occupation. You see, they really believe in what they’re saying, and are willing to make sacrifices in order to be heard.

    And that’s exactly why there were over (now the DC police are saying) 150,000 folks in Washington to protest Bush and his war (invasion)of choice.
    And that’s exactly why the pro war group couldn’t even muster 400 people.




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  34. Herb says:

    Jim:

    You do have a perfect right to protest about issues that you don’t agree with, but the proper place to do it is called “THE BALLOT BOX” have you ever heard of it?
    And Larmee:

    You say the protesters are ethical. That was a good one, but, tell me whats ethical about the protesters ranting that the terrorists are “Freedom Fighters” and whats ethical about the Anti American slogans they use in their marches. And I am so sick of you hard heads that keep talking about the WMD and that Bush lied. If that is so, then Great Britain, Europe, most Democrats and a whole bunch of UN countries also said the same thing, That Iraq Had WMD. Why don’t you call them liars also instead of directing your hate to wards Bush only. You don’t see signs in the protesters hands that call others that there was WMD liars. You call yourself an American, but actually you are more like a Democrat sore loser that “Just can’t Get Over It.

    Lastly, Why do you so called patriots realize that when you preach your Bush Hate in the form of an anti war march, you aid, abet and lend comfort to our enemy, the terrorist. They watch MSNBC, CNN, and FOX NEWS to and are loving what you are doing. That make you and your kind, TRAITORS to America. Now live with it, because some day you will regret your dumb ideals. People like you remind me of Jane Fonda, sitting by a North Vietnamese Anti Aircraft Gun singing the praises of their Commie way.




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  35. larmee says:

    You think you are a patriot? Well, I think you have a pretty warped view of what represents the values of America, I really do.

    I don’t think invading another country under the false premise of weapons of mass destruction represents American Ideals. I really don’t. I don’t think stealing elections represent American Ideals. I don’t think employing torture is an American value. I really don’t. And I certainly don’t think screaming “traitor” or “commie” to everyone who disagrees with you (the majority of Americans, by the way) represents American Ideals. Quite the opposite: it represents dictatorship and fascism.

    And I certainly don’t think sending young men and women to die in a war (invasion) based on lies (or, if you prefer…mistakes) is either being patriotic or “supporting our troops” (quite the opposite!).

    But rather than trying to convince you of this, I would suggest that you walk away from the safety of your computer and enlist and fight this war yourself (unlike your beloved Bush, Chaney and Wolfowitz who did everything they could to avoid fighting)….unless, like them, you are a hypocrite and a coward. Or, are you just another old man who wants war?
    And if you are, then make sure that your son or daughter is fighting in it! (Unlike Bush, Chaney and Wolfowitz and every member or congress who hasn’t sent their children to fight and die).




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  36. alan says:

    Students who traveled from Staunton, Va., to show their support for the troops, show off the banner they signed that will be sent to troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Gold Star Families Lead Rally to Support Troops, Their Mission




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  37. Jim Henley says:

    That’s eight! Any others?




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  38. Herb says:

    Larmee;

    Now that you have had your opportunity to blow off a little Stearm, Your comments have shown your true colors.

    You are just another Left Wing Looney Democrat that is still bitter about trying to steal the 2000 election(Led by Mayor Daily) and got caught. The result is you are just a bitter person that can’t get over it. God help you. It must be a living hell to live with your hate and bitterness for the past 6 years.

    Oh well, it’s your own personal problem, not mine, so go on with your hate and discontent, march, continue to hand our terrorist enemies their victory’s, tear down our troops and disrespect the country that has provided you the freedoms that your terrorist friends and buddies will take from you. You are sad indeed.




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  39. jake says:

    So Jim Henley, do you agree with ANSWER’s ideas and program? I am curious about the support for Kim Jung Il.

    And I do believe that of the unproven “100,000” which was quoted from the organizer, that mmore than 70,000 attended the national book festival held at the same time and location.

    So I do think that the number of anti war protestors were a lot, lot lower.




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  40. jake says:

    Here is a story from the dailyKos site with the title of srew the anti war rally.

    Face it, the more you align with wackos like Ramsey Clark, the more damage you do to your own side.

    I mean, even Sheehan has jumped the shark with her like comment that New Orleans was occupied just like Iraq.

    So Jim, hope those numbers (thenumber that actually DID attend the rally and not those who happened to be at a conference across the street) give you some degree of comfort




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  41. Jim Henley says:

    So Jim Henley, do you agree with ANSWER’s ideas and program? I am curious about the support for Kim Jung Il.

    No. But ANSWER doesn’t matter.

    And I do believe that of the unproven “100,000” which was quoted from the organizer, that mmore than 70,000 attended the national book festival held at the same time and location.

    Of course you do. But “100,000” is a number that also comes from the DC Police Chief among other people. (Some organizers were claiming 200-300,000, which seems very unlikely.) Even if the warblogger bedtime story about the book festival providing all the bodies were true, it would leave us with a ratio of something like 30,000:400. Of course, in the country as a whole, as many as one out of every three citizens is still behind the war, so the ratio is a bit skewed.




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  42. Jim says:

    Herb:

    So your point is that we can have our freedom of speech as long as we don’t want to use it? Screw you, buddy. And as far as calling me a traitor, say it to my face and see how quickly this liberal veteran disproves your theories about all anti-war folks being completely non-violent.

    I spent 10 years in the Army, 7 of those in the Infantry, earning the right to say whatever the hell I want about whoever the hell I want. You guys that want everyone to march lockstep with this administration no matter what they do are at the top of my list.

    Question for you Herb: Just what are we supposed to do when our government does something that we disagree with? Sit and stew?

    The arguments I’ve heard against protest and dissent are the most illogical pieces of drivel I’ve ever heard. We have freedom of speech, but to use it is treason? We have the responsibility to tell our leaders when they have gone astray, but when we do so, we’re told that we’re giving aid to the enemy?

    Bullsh!t.

    Now, there is a time for war. If our leadership decides to do something that is wrong and immoral, and then specifically says that he doesn’t care what the people, his employers think and he’s going to do whatever the hell he’s going to do, then we have the obligation to let them know they’re screwing up. There’s no contradiction there.

    I’m also going to make a comment on this BS idea that when you sign up for the military that you are signing your life away. (The “They knew what they were getting themselves into when they signed up” argument).

    Kids are often duped by recruiters. I know that my recruiter straight out lied to me to get me to sign up. You see the uniform. You respect the man wearing it, and they take advantage of that fact. They do sell it as an adventure and downplay any possibility of combat. (probably not as successful with that tactic these days).

    When you join the military, you do understand the possibility of seeing combat. You accept that. I accepted it. We hadn’t had a large-scale military operation since Vietnam when I joined, but I knew that it was always a possibility. 8 months later, I was on the ground in Saudi Arabia with live rounds in my weapon and a serious case of tight sphincter.

    But you also have the right to know that your life and blood will not be spent for any other reason than to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foriegn and domestic. That you will not be sent to die in a foreign land for false reasons. That your life will be treated with as much respect and dignity as possible. Military leaders are supposed to have the welfare of their troops at the top of their priority list. We owe our troops at least that much. THAT is supporting our troops. Screw the yellow ribbon magnets. You want to support our troops? Use them responsibly. Ask yourself the question: “Before I send these kids to die, is it for a reason that I’d be willing to lay down my own life for?” If the answer is truly ‘No’, then you should re-think your use of troops.

    Anyone that claims that when you join the military you’re signing a death warrant to be a political pawn is just crazy. Nobody would sign up for that. They sign up because they love their country. They sign up because they want to make a difference. They sign up to learn and grow through hard work and discipline. Nobody signs up because they want to die for a lie. Soldiers are still human beings and deserve to be treated with honesty, respect and goodwill. We have an obligation to them to make sure that they are not sent to die in vain. And if they are, we have an obligation to stand up and make our voices heard.

    Jim
    “Dissent is the Highest form of Patriotism” -Thomas Jefferson (that damned commie)




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  43. John says:

    Goddamn Jim, way to tell it like it is. People wonder why so many modern vets oppose the war, and you pretty much summed it up. Unfortunately, a lot of kids the military as their only gateway to college. If they don’t want to fight, alternatives such as the Peace Corps just aren’t as obvious to them. There was a guy I went to high school with who was about to going to join the National Guard as soon as he got out of high school. Well, I’ll be damned if he didn’t stand up at an open house the last week of high school and announce that he’d quit his preliminary training and not gotten stuck in the Guard after all. What he said was very powerful.

    “My recruiter told me that I wouldn’t be sent to Iraq, but then he really can’t promise that, can he? It’s not being killed that I worry about though, it’s killing someone else. I don’t know how I’d be able to live with someone else’s blood on my hands. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get into college now, but I’ll certainly try”.

    I believe what he said as well. I believe that a human life is a precious thing and that no man has the right to take that away. Not Bin Laden, not Saddam, and most certainly not our own goddamn president. I think too often that we forget that we’re fighting people in a war. Not “targets”, not “bogeys”, people. People who are mostly pissed off because we bombed their country to hell to steal their national resources. Maybe it was their brother we killed, maybe their son, or daughter, or maybe we blew up their house. There’s one more quote I’d like to share. A vet opposing the war told me something he heard from a civilian who was hired for $5 an hour to help restore the electricity in Baghdad.

    “Before the invasion, I had no problems with Saddam. I knew he was a terrible man, but he didn’t affect my family in particular. I had a house, a good job, and my children went to a good school. Now my house is destroyed, one of my sons is dead, and the only way for me to support what’s left of my family is to work for $5 a day fixing what you broke!”

    John




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